After a successful launch of World Oceans Day in 2015 we are pleased to announce the addition of the Bras d’ Or Lake TALKS. This forum is for interested parties to gather to share stories, possibilities and affects about the health of the World’s Oceans, the well-being of our coastal communities, and what enhanced role the Bras d’Or Lake, Science, Research, Education and can and should play in addressing these concerns.
Beauty, Science & Culture meet at the Barra Strait in the
Bras d’Or Lake TALKS – ADAPTING to CHANGE in CANADA’S INLAND SEA
The Bras d’Or Lake estuary and its watershed, while nearly pristine compared to many other coastal ecosystems, is changing at an accelerating rate as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century. Water temperatures have been typically warmer, and winter ice coverage dramatically reduced, over the past three decades. Shorelines have also experienced greater erosion from storm impacts (e.g. Spectacle Island, off the Washabuck Peninsula in St. Patrick’s Channel, is now mostly submerged).
Other variations, with less obvious links to global climate change, include the arrivals of invasive species around the turn of the last century, such as the Green Crab and MSX parasite, which wiped out much of the oyster production in the estuary and largely removed the quintessential Bras d’Or Lake oyster from the menus of North America’s finer restaurants. Economic activity associated with oyster farming has been greatly diminished, and recovery is a slow process. Similar patterns of decline have also been evident in other fisheries and economic activities in the Bras d’Or Biosphere (now a Reserve in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program).
We cannot place a lid over these waters to exempt them from species invasions, ocean acidification or further effects of global warming. But we CAN enhance our resilience to such changes, by taking the time and making the effort to better understand and communicate the changing status of this inland sea and its many coastal communities. While doing so, it will be crucial to learn from local efforts in ecosystem-based science and community-based management, as well as from those in other jurisdictions also adapting to climate change. The 2016 Bras d’Or TALKS, envisioned as the first in an ongoing series of dialogues amongst the people of the Bras d’Or Biosphere, will feature stories of evolution and adaption in terms of its ecosystems, communities and cultures since the end of the last ice age through the periods of colonization.
We were pleased to have a list of distinguished panelists which included:
– Fred Baechler (Hydrogeologist, EXP)
– Dan Christmas (Senior Advisor, Membertou)
– Jim Foulds (Chair, Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association)
– Lori Kennedy (Co-Founder, Louisbourg Seafoods)
Our Keynote Speaker: Matthew McCandless
Founding chief executive of International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) -Experimental Lakes Area. Matt’s primary responsibilities are with the administration and operation of the world’s only whole-ecosystem freshwater research facility. This involves oversight of research and field station operations, administration, human resources, and fundraising.